Carl in DC

21 July 08

Carl came to DC last weekend.  He arrived here on Wednesday from Munich and left for KC on Sunday.  It was a whirlwind weekend, but it was so good just to see him again.  Here’s a rundown of what we did:

Wednesday: I met him at my house after work.  We went out for dinner and walked around Arlington.  It wasn’t very exciting, but it was very nice.

Thursday:

  • Carl tried to meet me at one of the Senate buildings, but alas, the markup was cancelled, and so…
  • We had lunch together (he found my office!), and then I went back to work and he got very lost and ended up at the Library of Congress, which he later described as one of the holiest places he’s been.
  • We thought about walking through the Sculpture Garden, hesitated a minute too long, and got completely drenched in the downpour that suddenly happened.  DRENCHED.  I was wringing out my skirt all the way home.  We seriously looked like we had jumped in a fountain fully clothed.
  • After drying off and changing, we went back into the District to meet up with Carl’s friend Jenny for dinner at Old Ebbitt.  They hadn’t seen each other for a while, so that was fun.

Friday:

  • We meant to get up early, but no dice.  We finally left my house around 11, I think.  As a note, we rode the metro twice on Friday – once at 11am and once at 8:30pm (okay, that was sort of twice, because we got off at one stop looking for something that wasn’t there, but still) – so keep that in mind.
  • First, the National Botanic Garden.  I had forgotten that Carl is an aficionado of plants.  He was very excited about all those plants.  Very excited.  Seriously.
  • Second, a friend of mine gave us a tour of the Capitol.  We even got to go onto the House floor because it wasn’t in session.  The tour was great, and the Capitol is just a very impressive building.
  • Third, lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Mmm.
  • Fourth, a stroll through the Sculpture Garden.  I showed him the trippy house sculpture and we ruminated over the horse sculpture that appears everywhere in DC.  It is so odd.
  • Fifth, the National Archives.  We saw the big documents, of course – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (and a portion of a draft of Marbury v. Madison, which is exciting for me) – and then we went through the other exhibits as well.  There was a public documents exhibit that included groups of records on various things including the Nuremberg Tribunal, UFOs, and Watergate.  It was a great exhibit, and there was also a part that had immigration information and family geneology things.  Another exhibit was of political cartoons, called “Running for Office.”  That was Carl’s favorite part, I believe.  The satire and wit that can come through cartoons is quite amazing.
  • Sixth, we laid in the grass for a few minutes because it was so darn hot.
  • Seventh, we did the monument walk.  The Mall is deceptively long.  I tried to warn Carl, but it’s something you just have to experience.  It’s loooong.  At the Lincoln Memorial, a man asked a guard if there was a metro station close by (ha) because his wife was exhausted after the walk was much longer than she expected.  Anyway, we started with the Washington Monument, then the World War II Memorial, then Vietnam, Lincoln, Korea, FDR, George Mason, and Jefferson.  At FDR, a bunch of high schoolers were running around, which was terribly annoying.  We left the memorial just before they did, and we managed to get far enough ahead to see the George Mason Memorial and then get to Jefferson (very very quickly) before they did.  It was awesome.  And I just love the monuments.  I really think FDR is my favorite one, but Lincoln is just so classic.
  • Eighth, we went to Hellboy at a movie theatre near my place.  It was quite enjoyable.
  • And finally, we collapsed, because it was a seriously packed day.

Saturday:

  • We started even later than on Friday, arriving at the Spy Museum around 1.  We got tickets for 3pm and went to Clyde’s for brunch.  Chinatown is a pleasant place to walk around, and we took the scenic route (deliberately) while I talked up the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum (which is currently housing an Aaron Douglas exhibit put together by the Spencer at KU), but he just wouldn’t get excited about museums… except spy museums, of course.
  • The Spy Museum was quite interesting.  My favorite part was this three-segment video on double agents, two of whom were high-level US government officials.  There was also a room on spying in Berlin, which was great, but I was surprised it didn’t mention Teufelsberg.  Naja.  I think Carl was most fascinated by the beautiful women who were spies and got away with it.  I’m not sure if he liked those stories because they were beautiful or because they got away with spying.
  • After that, we went to the Old Post Office Pavillion.  We took the elevator up to the tower, which has a great view of DC.
  • And then we went to a play.  It was a one-man play about the history of the Department of Homeland Security.  He talked a lot about the fear and the panic that the government and businesses that pander to the government require.  It was thought-provoking and really really funny.  Jenny and her boyfriend joined us, so that was fun.
  • We went out for a drink at a bar nearby, which was just a nice ending to the weekend.

I’m done writing for now.  Maybe I’ll write more tomorrow.  Oh, but I think DHS is screening my phone calls.  I’ve been trying to contact one of the press people there for a few days, and at first, they answered when I called, but no one answered today.  I told Maria, the other intern, that I think the government must have some secret federal holiday.

Three more weeks in DC!  I’ll be sad to leave the District, but I do kind of want to be home… in my own space… with my cats.  🙂

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